After I posted last night about the debt limit deal, the Senate did as I had hoped and passed it. So that’s done.
No thanks to Lindsey Graham or Tim Scott, who were among the 36 — all but five of them Republican — who voted instead for the United States to default on its debt, plunging the U.S. and world economies into turmoil.
Graham, for his part, offered an excuse that gave us a glimpse of his old self, the senator we knew before he lost his mind in 2016 — he said it was about national security. But that doesn’t wash. I’ve seen nothing on his vote since it happened, but hours before, he made a speech:
Graham made an impassioned speech Thursday on the Senate floor, saying small increases in fiscal year defense spending are not part of a “threat-based budget” but one that lacks safety and security for Americans. He later said that a supplemental defense budget for Ukraine and other spending must be agreed upon swiftly by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to make up for the House GOP’s below-inflation 3 percent military increase….
And as it happened, Schumer and Mitch McConnell joined together to offer as much assurance as anyone could reasonably expect under such rushed conditions, with default looming on Monday:
None of the amendments were adopted. But in an effort to alleviate concerns from defense hawks that the debt ceiling bill would restrict Pentagon spending too much, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a joint statement saying the “debt ceiling deal does nothing to limit the Senate’s ability to appropriate emergency supplemental funds to ensure our military capabilities are sufficient to deter China, Russia, and our other adversaries.”…
As for Tim Scott — I’ve found nothing about why he voted the way he did. Maybe I’ve looked in the wrong places, but I found nothing on his website, on social media or in any news reports. Which reminds us of why it’s weird that he’s running for president. He’s not a guy who tends to be out front on anything, making his views known in developing situations. He’s not making an effort to tell us, and if he said something on the floor of the Senate, no one covered it.
He’s just this nice guy who’s happy to be a U.S. senator — his bio line on Twitter says “Just a South Carolinian living his mama’s American Dream” — and who doesn’t get swept up in what’s actually happening. Look at that Twitter feed, by the way. There’s nothing there — at least, anywhere near the top — posted in real time in response to anything that was happening, or anything he was doing. It’s just a bunch of prewritten campaign stuff, going on about how awful Joe Biden is.
You know, the Joe Biden who threw his all into working with McCarthy to keep the nation from defaulting for the first time in history.
And then, Graham and Scott basically said Nah, let’s go ahead and crash into the mountain…